URLs du Jour


[Max, Majel, and Mickey]

Note: The explanation for the (pirated, come and get me, Getty) Pic du Jour is our last item today.

■ See if Proverbs 15:17 doesn't bring at least a small smile to your face:

17 Better a small serving of vegetables with love
    than a fattened calf with hatred.

There are a lot of possible ways to comment on this, but I'll go with the "Even in Ancient Israel" approach: Even in Ancient Israel, other things being equal, they vastly preferred a big hunk of fatty meat over the sensible veggie platter.

■ Nick Gillespie at Reason hammers a theme we've been hammering too: How Authorities Failed To Stop School Shooter Nikolas Cruz.

How can the senseless killing of 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, be made even more tragic and disturbing? By realizing that it could have and should have been prevented by existing authorities using current laws and policies.

The discourse in the wake of the shooting has mostly been about all the new laws we need to prevent such horrors from happening again—increased ages for rifle purchases, a ban on bump stocks, prohibition of "assault weapons" and semi-automatics, easier ways to commit mentally ill people, and more. But the plain, awful truth is that law enforcement and other agencies had all the information and power they needed. Yet the authorities failed to act both during the shooting itself and in the months and years leading up to it. Creating new programs and laws, many of which have little if no relevance to mass shootings or crime in general, will do absolutely nothing to cure official incompetence and indifference.

What Mr. Gillespie calls "the discourse" seems to be an unholy mixture of cynical opportunism ("Never let a crisis go to waste.") and legislative psychotherapy ("Do something!")

■ Hey, kids, what time is it? Robert Tracinski answers: Why It’s Time To Raise The Voting Age Back To 21.

The events since the Parkland shooting have convinced me that we need to change the Constitution to eliminate an ill-considered amendment that has done more harm than good. We need to repeal the 26th Amendment and raise the voting age back to 21.

Tracinski makes good arguments, and they will be unfortunately ignored.

I remember a class discussion back in the late sixties when I was the only kid in the room against the (then-) proposed lowering of the voting age. Got a lot of crap for it too. But, darn it, I was right.

■ The young-adult site, Vox contentiously lists The states taking the opioid epidemic seriously (and not), in one map. As always, I am a sucker for such state-by-state comparisons. Even when my state comes out short. Here's a (pirated) graphic:

[Comparison Map]


The map looks particularly at the number of buprenorphine providers in the state relative to how many opioid overdose deaths a state has. Buprenorphine is a medication used to treat opioid addiction; along with methadone and naltrexone, it’s widely considered the gold standard of care for opioid use disorder, with studies showing medications can cut the all-cause mortality rate among opioid addiction patients by half or more.

So if a state has less access to the drug and a high number of overdose deaths, it’s likely failing at fully addressing its opioid crisis. Based on the map, that appears to be true for states like West Virginia, Ohio, and New Hampshire, where opioid overdose deaths are very high yet access to buprenorphine is low.

Skepticism is warranted. The source of the research is a consulting biz, with clients that stand to financially benefit when states buy more "access to buprenorphine". And the underlying assumption seems dubious: your state isn't "taking things seriously" unless and until your buprenorphine-to-OD ratio is above average? We can't all be above average, Vox.

■ Guess who wants to be my CongressCritter? Bernie Sanders’ Son Launches Bid for Congress in New Hampshire. Since my Congresswoman/Toothache Carol Shea-Porter is calling it quits, there has been a huge influx of pols looking to take her place. And so…

Sanders, who does not live in the district, says his 17-year career as a legal services analyst in neighboring Massachusetts has prepared him to effectively represent New Hampshire's "working class, who have been beaten up by the system." He plans to run on a platform similar to that of his father, emphasizing universal health care, free college tuition, and a higher minimum wage.

His main qualifications seems to be (1) his name, and (2) his steadfast devotion to getting you utterly dependent on government for "free" stuff and letting you imagine that someone else will pay for it.

But mostly his name.

■ Our second answer to the "Hey, kids, what time is it?" question today is provided by John Ellis at PJMedia: Time to Go Ask Your Local Progressive Bakery to Bake an NRA Cake.

An NRA member needs to find the most progressive bakery he can, and then request an AR-15-shaped cake for a Second Amendment celebration. Walk into the store wearing an NRA shirt and hat. Openly carry a gun if you're legally allowed. Ask for the top of the cake to be decorated with words like "In celebration of the NRA."

When the mortified SJW baker refuses, sue her.

An interesting thought experiment!

■ At Cato, John Samples mourns The Death of an Open Internet.

Today [now yesterday, February 27] the House votes on the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), a piece of anti-sex trafficking legislation. It follows and incorporates an earlier effort by the Senate, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA). The bill at issue today is actually a last minute amendment by Representative Mimi Walters (CA) that brings the worst elements of SESTA into FOSTA, creating a hybrid bill far worse than the sum of its parts. This bill has grave consequences for an open, competitive internet and for some people who use it.

Did our Congresswoman/Toothache Carol Shea-Porter vote for it? You betcha.

And did she on the very same day co-introduce a resolution to "save Net Neutrality"? Of course:

We will not stand by while the FCC allows big corporations to trample on our right to a free and open internet and decide what content we can see, at what cost, and at what speed.”

She's a disgusting hypocrite.

■ But again: Hey, kids, what time is it? David French at NR has another answer for us: It’s Time for Real Talk about the Assault-Weapons ‘Ban’.

It’s back. In the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla., school massacre, House Democrats are making another attempt at banning so-called assault weapons. A “supermajority” (156 of 193) of House Democrats have signed on, leaving no doubt as to the party’s move left on gun control. The bill, called the “Assault Weapons ban of 2018,” is a non-starter — at least so long as Republicans control the House — but it’s a mistake to simply write off any proposal backed so overwhelmingly by one side of the aisle. This debate isn’t going away.

So let’s deal with he bill on the merits, beginning with taking on its inherently deceptive name. The bill calls for a “ban” on both “semi-automatic assault weapons” and “large capacity magazine feeding devices” (magazines holding more than ten rounds). But then — in the very next paragraphs — it exempts every single weapon and magazine lawfully possessed before the enactment of the law.

So it's not a ban. As Mr. French notes: it "preserves the ability of criminals to access guns while restricting the access of law-abiding Americans". Good move, "common sense" gun-controllers.

■ And finally I read in the WSJ yesterday: Mickey Spillane’s Work Keeps Coming, 12 Years After His Death. Even though Mr. Spillane succumbed to The Big Sleep back in 2006, new stuff keeps coming out. How?

This afterlife is due largely to a longtime fan and fellow novelist, Max Allan Collins. Named a 2017 Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, Mr. Collins as a teenager pelted his favorite author with admiring (and unanswered) letters.

It's an interesting and somewhat charming story. Mr. Collins really is the ultimate fanboy.

But here's the thing: the story is illustrated with our pic du jour, a 1995 picture of Spillane, Collins, and … hey, that's Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in between them! Nurse Chapel! Number One! Enterprise Computer Voice! Lwaxana Troi!

What's she doing there?

As it turns out, they're linked by the dreadful 1995 horror film Mommy, which Mr. Collins wrote and directed. Ms. Barrett-Roddenberry played "Mrs. Withers", a victim of "Mommy", played by Patty "Bad Seed" McCormack. And Mr. Spillane played "Attorney Neal Ekhardt". As Nurse Chapel's heartthrob, Spock, might say: Fascinating.

Mr. Collins replaced Jeff Carney as director. Mr. Carney's story, also fascinating, is here.